Food For Thought
Shop like a European!
By: Leanne Ely
A while back, I wrote about the issue of food waste in this country. It really is astonishing to think about how much perfectly good food is tossed in the trash in this day and age. We have access to more food than our mothers and their mothers had before us, and yet we’ve become one of the most wasteful generations of human beings there has ever been.
Our super sized mentality is the reason why we buy things that end up going bad. Pushing that cart around the grocery store, stocking up on deals and taking advantage of low prices on food we don’t even need and likely won’t use before it goes bad. It leaves us with more food than we can store in our homes, fruit and veggies rotting away in the crisper drawer (ew) and, often, less money in our grocery budgets for later on in the month when we’re desperate for some fresh produce.
There’s a simple solution to this food waste problem that would also help many other problems from stress and obesity, to preventing disease and avoiding chemicals/ GMOs. We should simply approach shopping in a different way.
In many European countries, you head to the market in the morning and purchase what you need for that day’s meals. You go home, prepare it and eat it. The next day, you repeat.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to do exactly this because not all of us are down the street from a market and most of us work full-time jobs and don’t have the time or luxury to do this. But I would like you to consider this approach. Shop ‘til you drop when it comes to stocking up on staples and pantry items when they’re on sale but use the European approach when it comes to produce and fish.
Shopping with short-term goals in mind.
This is where menu planning comes in handy. I think you all know that I know a thing or two about menu planning!
Rather than making one or two big grocery shops a month where you end up buying way more than you need, why not plan out your meals (check out one of our products to help you—they even come with grocery lists!) on the weekend and shop for the ingredients once at the beginning of the week and once nearing the end of the week to stock up on fresh produce and meat? You can buy your meat all at once if you freeze what you won’t use up in four or five days, but you shouldn’t keep it in the fridge much longer than that. And same goes for fish. We all know how that smells when it’s not fresh. Yuck!
Avoid processed foods and packaged foods, and try to always choose seasonal, local and organic whenever possible. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, check the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists and use that to help you make the best choices for your health, based on your budget.
Making more frequent trips to the market/grocery store and having a plan made in advance for the entire week means less waste (both food and money!)and less overindulging in the wrong kinds of foods!
I believe that if we all approached shopping in this way, we would almost effortlessly become a more healthful nation.
If you’ve been saying to yourself, “I don’t know what’s safe to eat anymore,” I think following this easy formula will simplify things for you. It will naturally change your diet to one of real, wholesome food, and you won’t even have to think about it again.
• Make a weekly meal plan
• Shop frequently for fresh produce and meat
• Skip the processed foods
• Choose local, seasonal and organic produce whenever possible
Looks pretty simple when you put it that way, doesn’t it?
Do you have anything to add?